Going back to the basics can be the key to maintaining sanity in the business world. As a landlord, every success and failure boils down to one common denominator. People. People are unpredictable, and one raging success or a miserable failure can be connected with tenant behavior. But don’t worry, a landlord isn’t completely at his tenant’s mercy. A landlord can maintain control simply by laying some ground rules for himself and his tenants. Remember that rules are only effective if they are enforced, and consistently. Keep the mindset: It’s business, not personal!
Screen well (don’t discriminate)
When a landlord screens effectively, he will reap the longterm results. It is important to understand the difference between screening and discriminating. Every landlord should have a set of standards to check off for each applicant. A landlord must be smarter than his applicants. It’s unfortunate to have to play the cynic role, but it’s the name of the landlord game. This article gives some pointers on common ways potential tenants will snake their way in to screening approval. Follow this link to avoid getting duped and see this BaseRent Blog post about signs of a good tenant.
Make Rent Payment Easy
There’s nothing worse than having to wade though a bunch of steps to make a payment. The landlord should make it as easy as possible for tenants to pay rent. Though tenants are legally bound to pay the monthly rent, it can’t hurt to simplify and sweeten the process. A direct deposit option, or an automatic withdrawal should always be available. If possible, the landlord should provide more than one option. Don’t give tenants any excuse to delay on payment.
Inspect every quarter
It is vital to keep those inspections coming. The more time that passes between inspections, the more complications accumulate. Catching a problem before it progresses may help avoid future problems with significant expense. Tenants will stay on their toes when they regularly expect an inspection. Problems may not marinate as long, and tenants may show more respect for the property when the landlord visibly takes the time to inspect regularly. Read this additional article about the value of quarterly inspections vs annual.
Make timely repairs
This is in conjunction with the above item. Repairing problem items quickly saves more problems down the road, often of the disastrous nature. Small problems are not as costly, but if neglected, will grow into larger costly projects. Tenants satisfaction will increase when the landlord addresses concerns in a timely manner. If a tenant sees that the landlord cares about the property, the tenants will be likely treat the property with more respect. Have you noticed a theme? A landlord reaps what he sows!!!
Know when to use notices
Official notices are cold and impersonal, especially when mailed with no previous conversation. Try to keep official notices as last resort and communicate through email, text, or face to face. Most people will respond to a friendly or even official reminder through these methods. Official notices do have their place, even for non-threatening messages. A good landlord will consider his delivery style each time he communicates. See below for some pointers!
- Pay or quit– Notice is appropriate if the friendly reminder is not cutting it.
- Cure or quit – Same as above (example-violation of smoke or pet policy)
- Unconditional quit notice– Notice is appropriate if all appropriate prior steps have occurred
- Offer of renewal- Notice is appropriate. This needs to be official and in writing.
- Notice of non renewal– Same as above, however, communication should have happened at least 6 months before this notice to the tenants a heads up.
- Notice of rent increase- Approppriate, with at least 6 months notice
- Notice of entry/intent to enter– this can be just as effectively be done through a text or email.
- Notice of Intent to Dispose of Abandoned Personal Property- Notice is appropriate. Many previous steps would have occurred to be at this stage
- Notice of transfer of ownership/management– official notice is appropriate
Follow this link to access a wide source of editable notice documents specifically for landlords